This five-piece puzzle that we have called ourselves has shown strength and faith in the face of great sadness and loss. Last year, my father-in-law was a significant member of our family, this year, that all changed.
But instead of falling apart, our family persevered. We nearly curled inward, it would have been understandable. But we all have done the opposite. We chose hope. Not always, not perfectly. Yet we risked rejection and kept our hearts open. I am proud of us.
As a junior in college, I attended l’universite de Caen in Normandy, France. Founded in 1432, the university was destroyed in 1944. Most of the town was also decimated, in fact, the home where I lived still had bullet holes in the stone wall from a fire fight during the Invasion.
At the entrance to the school, a sculpture entitled “The Phoenix” welcomed all. Many days I strolled past this statue but never really appreciated its beauty or significance until now.
For some reason I remember that monument and connect it my present day life.
The morning before Thanksgiving, my family gathered together. An impromptu gluten-free brunch of pupusas (a popular Salvadoran dish) and pão de queijo (a delicious Brazilian cheese bread) filled the kitchen with warmth and flavor.
Around the table, I saw people I never expected to be here. One person, in fact, I didn’t even know existed until about three months ago.
– A handsome borrowed Brazilian son
– A Salvadorena future daughter-in-love
– A gluten-free future daughter-in-love
And beside them, all holding hands sat
– a Soldier preparing to be deployed a few days later
– a ministry-minded middle and
– an orange hair, freckle face olive shoot.
We bowed our heads to pray and I tried not to cry. Happy tears filled my eyes.
How did I get so blessed?
Look at this food!
Behold these people!
I scarcely could take it in as the Hubs led us in prayer. The Lord gives and He takes away. There weren’t five of us. There now were EIGHT.
In a way, that breakfast was a symbol of our phoenix, our human sculpture of grace and resilience.
Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, deception and greed have not defeated us. What Satan intended for evil, the Lord has used for good. Though we do not forget and still grieve, our family has created new connections and love.
Across the miles, continents and cultures, hearts still remain strong.
“Across the miles, continents and cultures, hearts still remain strong.” And that is a goodly, godly thing. Blessings on you Cindy!
It’s been a quirky journey full of unexpected twists and turns. I know you can empathize. Thanks for stopping by! Bless you!
“Instead of falling apart our family preserved…we chose hope” beautiful words from a beautiful mother who helped bring us through it all. Amen and amen mama! We choose hope and will continue to choose hope! That’s why we’re Winter-Hartley’s!
I love you, sweet ministry-minded middle. ❤
The Lord really does work ALL things for good for those that Love Him. Sometimes though it just takes awhile before it comes about and we see it. God’s time is not our time. What a blessed family you have Cindy! 🙂
Yes, Lisa, you are so right. Your own journeys are testimony to how you know about this. Thanks for your friendship and comments!
Beautiful! Love, love, love this!
Bless you, Ashley! Thank you!
I love this post, and it prompted me to go back because I have missed something. I am sorry for your families struggles, but you do have a strong faith and you know, even without me telling you, that indeed God is faithful and will continue to carry your family through this storm and you will be polished and gleaned all the more for it. Blessings to you all as you move forward into new possibilities. 🙂
Thank you Maxine! I love the idea of being polished and gleaned, I know the Lord has a purpose! Thanks for the sweet words of encouragement!